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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    To them, like Toyota, it is just another piece of metal. Not important to them, like to you in the entire scheme of things. You must have bought the car, like I did the Toyota, cause the attitudes of people are different that lease versus buy. Personally I don't do leases, but they have value if you can write them off.

    What I would do, since the car sounds fine otherwise, is change the steering wheel. I would have them, change the steering wheel to the regular leather steering wheel for the 330i, hooking up everything, and be done with it. I know they should make a better part, but they don't, and as I said in the earlier posting, they are care less. I totally agree, for a 45K car, what gives. That is why I try and only get functional upgrades. BMW packages stuff too much inflating the price and producing inferior material sometimes in the process.

    If it makes you feel better, I came out to my car in the heated garage, open the door, and found the interior door fascia drooping, as if they use inferior glue on it. The car is garaged, heated to 50F, only used in the nice months. I said,man, this piece of goo. Did not even bother to waste my time and take it to the dealership to hear the bull sound. Got some automotive Goop adhesive, spread it on, clamp it as evenly as possible and put foamboard onthe top of the clamp(freakin scratch the paint just a little but no more than they wound have done) and in 24 hours, fixed. Painful but fixed permanently. Nothings perfect. The steering wheel would bug me terribly. Have them make good and put in a regular leather one. Should last the lifetime of the car.

    Just my thoughts.

  • ahmadmahmadm Posts: 15

    I also own a 2004 CiC and so far have not been able to get the VOB of Rockville, Maryland fix the squeeling noise problem when putting the car in gear after a cold start (overnight or if the car has not been driven for few days). Another one that they said they fixed but remains a problem is a rattle that I hear when the soft top is up.

    I also own a 2001 MB 320, and I can tell you that there is a difference of day and night between the BMW and MB after sales services. I am not sure why BMW is so oblivious to this and continues to look the other way. I got one survey call from BMW after my first couple of services and I told them exactly what happened. No calls after that.

    BTW, when VOB said they fixed the roof rattle problem, the whole area was soiled in grease and even the rear quarter windows would catch grease when rolled down!

    The car itself is fun to drive and feels solid, it is the after sales service that is mind boggling.
  • I have a 2002 325CI, my leather (or plastic--whatever they make it out of) has gotten soft and sticky. I keep the car immaculate and only use leather cleaner on it. With it getting soft, it shows marks and scrathes easily. I was curious if anyone else was having this issue. The other problem I have is the trim around the driver and passenger windows has continued to come down since the first six months of having the car. The dealership replaced it three times, but now that it is own of warranty, I have been trying different epoxy's to fix it. These silly problems are very frustrating!!!
  • Hi,

    I was comforted to learn today, that I am not the BMW owner that needs a new transmission. I have a 2000, 323i BMW with 68,000 miles. The car has run perfectly and been maintained throughout ownership. Yesterday, I attempted to reverse out of my parking spot, and it would not move, only move forward. The car was diagnosed today, as needing a new transmission. Complete shock!

    I have begun to research the issue and have learned that there are many owners of the 3 series from the year 2000 (plus) that have had to replace there transmission due to the exact same problem!!!!

    I believe we have a major class action suit and deserve to be paid in full for the amount of money each owner has had to come out of pocket for a new transmission. Our cars should not be exhibiting such problems this early on. There is clearly a defect. Please let me know if you pushed the issue further with BMW of North America. I found over 18 pages worth of complaints at There must be some kind of recourse from BMW to the consumers for this issue.

    I look forward to hearing from you!


  • Hi,

    I just reading your posting, and my BMW, 2000, 323i's transmission just failed on January 11, 2007. The car has been driving great and exceptionally maintained. Just this past Thursday I was unable to reverse out of my parking spot. I soon learned that I need a new transmission!! I have 68,000 miles. Certainly, these cars have a major defect. Have you had any success in winning your case against BMW?

    BMW told me that since my car is out of warranty, there's nothing they can do!! Very frustrating, as I'm sure you know. Do you have an hard facts on the number of defective transmission of this make and model, etc? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I hope you have had success in winning you case against BMW. My direct e-mail is:

    Thank you,
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    I suggest you contact Tom Purves, CEO, at BMW North America's headquarters in NJ. I contacted them via a law firm and they turned me down flat as far as a refund goes for the 2.8K I spent on transmission repair. Since I've had one problem after another with BMW NA, which incidentally has earned an "Unsatisfactory" rating from the Better Business Bureau, I'm all the more determined to get reimbursed for the repair plus damages. In fact, I'm looking into bundling all my past rip-off experiences into one larger case. Contacting the CEO's office is a logical first step. If your community has a BMW dealership or service center, you can pursue them via your community's small claims court. The clerk can tell you how. I suggest you have the papers served to the local office of BMW and put Purves's name on it. He's the person to be served via the local office. If you do not have a local BMW office, I suggest you contact a lawyer for advice. In previous posts I described my experience with the Port Chester, NY Service Center. Suffice it to say, BMW has certainly earned its rating from the BBB, an organization that does not assign "Unsatisfactory" ratings unless there's a pattern of egregious behavior.
  • I am sorry to hear about these failed transmissions. I would be similarly outraged. Hard to believe that BMW would abide by an "Unsatisfactory" rating from the BBB.

    To legally prove your cases, you would have to show transmission problems are prevalent, and also well-known to BMW, for certain model years, and that BMW has not otherwise adequately addressed. I reviewed the Consumer Reports website for the reliability history of the E46 3-Series (1999-2005). The transmission reliability was rated either good or very good for each model year (except 2002 with a rating of excellent).

    You might also consult the website. It is a trade organization for reputable independent BMW service shops. Use it to locate a shop in your area. You might have the local shop inspect the car, and the shop owner may be provide some insight as to any known transmission problems. This can be drawn from experience and/or contact with the national BIMRS shop network.

    In any event, good luck to you!
  • My 2000 323i with ONLY 28,000 miles on it wouldn't go in reverse, had it towed to the dealership and they tell me I need a new transmission, and because it is out of warranty and I did not continue to bring my car to their facility for maintenance, I was on my own and would be financially responsible to replace the transmission! I want to contact the CEO, Tom Purves, but don't know how - did you have any luck? I'm made 2 complaints with BMW NA, but that is going no where. Have you filed a small claims action, and if so, where is that going? I'm so very frustrated after reading the huge number of similar complaints, and BMW won't take responsibility. Has anyone obtained the NHTSA service bulletin #613552? I would love to see it - ordered a copy but don't have yet... h e l p !!!
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    They are terrible to deal with. Once your car is off warranty, there's no way it makes sense to go back to BMW for servicing. They charge twice as much as foreign car shops with mechanics who can fix your brakes, change the oil, etc., etc. just as well. Furthermore, just because your car was worked on by other mechanics after it went off warranty is no good reason for BMW to deny responsibility for what is obviously a transmission design defect. Here's where to complain: Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO, BMW of North America, 300 Chestnut Ridge Road, Woodclife Lake, NJ 07675. My attorney is sending a second letter to his office. If the response from Purves is still unsatisfactory, the next step is litigation. As for small claims court, you can go that route if BMW has an office in your area. If not, you need to go to a community where they have an office and file a claim in that community's court. That's the only way most small claim courts will serve papers on a defendant -- that is, he or she has to be in the same locale as the court. When you get your report from the NTSB, I'd appreciate your sharing with me what it says. I hope I've been helpful. I'm not going to give up going after BMW and I hope you and others who have been similarly ripped off do the same.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Given the sheer number of "Can't go into reverse" complaints from 323i owners, it seems rather obvious that there is indeed a problem and BMW should step up to the plate and offer some form of relief. FWIW, I don't believe that BMW built the automatic transmissions affected (designed by ZF and built by GM if memory serves), however, they put it in their car and they should be the folks who fix it. Geez I'm glad I'll only drive a BMW with a manual transmission; it would indeed be kind of annoying to have reverse go out for no apparent reason. :-/

    Another thing to consider is the address posted above. I used to live right around the corner from BMW-USA (literally as their offices are at the corner of Chestnut Ridge Road & Glen Road, I lived on Glen) and so please consider my first hand knowledge of the area when I tell you that the above address is incorrect in two ways. The correct address is as follows:

    BMW of North America
    200 Chestnut Ridge Road
    Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677

    Both misspelling the town name and using the old zip code (changed in 1999 or 2000 if I remember correctly) will likely result in your correspondence not getting to its intended recipient.

    Best Regards,
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,612

    Now I know where you stopped in Montvale on your way home from your recent trip when the puppy had an former company was next door to Mercedes on Mercedes Drive and I lived about 3 miles from you in River Vale.

    Small world.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yupper. ;-)

    Oddly enough, and unfortunately for me, my several year contract with MB-USA (down the hill next to the farm) ended just six months before we built the house on Glen Road. Go figure.

    Best Regards,
  • Thanks much. I'll write them. (BMW NA Customer Service will not give me a phone number.) The NTSB bulliten may take up to two weeks, per NTSB... but I'll share if and when I receive. Thanks much and good luck to us both!
  • Did you ever have any luck? I have same make and model, and yes, same problem!!! Just happened to me... what was your outcome? DId you receive the service bulliten from NTSA? I don't have it yet and would appreciate you sharing if you have it. I, too, have contacted BMWNA (no luck), consumer affairs and nhtsa... this is wrong, wrong, wrong!
  • Sorry for the absence; I am somewhat relieved to hear that someone else out there is hearing the same tapping that I am. I've had my 325xi back to the dealer, but of course, the sound was not reproducible. I later found that my oil sensor seemed faulty, as I was getting fluctuating oil level reads. the sensor was replaced, but the tapping/clicking has recurred despite this. When I've opened the hood, the tapping is coming from the low left side of the engine. It's certainly connected with the drivetrain given its association with engine speed. It was particularly cold here in RI today, and the noise was immediately evident. The dealer tells me that no one else has reported the problem, but that they'd put out a "bulletin" regarding this problem and track it. My plan is that the next time it occurs, I'm going to drive it to the dealer and let them hear it for themselves. I'm concerned about the long term wear and tear on the engine. It's surely shaken my faith in BMW - not sure I'd buy another.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,612
    I really am concerned regarding these types of problems in this level of cars. That is why I decided to lease to align with the warranty coverage. Engine problems occur in every nameplate from a statistical view but when you get over $35K - $40K price, the stakes are higher.

    When the entire wiring harness to the steering wheel needed to be changed to correct the airbag sensor failure about 3K miles into my lease on this'06 330xi, I felt spot on that i had made a good decision to lease. Also, major repairs after the warranty expires are much higher for the nameplates in this forum.

    The current technology is giving dealers problems with repair, IMO. So, even though an engine is mechanically fine in build quality , the systems that affect it can sometimes be a detriment and that is the price that is paid. Garbage in, Garbage out. Mrs. OW's '03 Yukon had a MAP sensor failure in 2005 that the dealer could not fix until the third try and imminent lemon law procedure was presented to them (NJ is a lemon law state). The engine was/is flawless otherwise (Mobile 1 since inception).

  • caocao Posts: 2
    2005 325i 13K-miles bought new

    In the last 4 months or so, I have been visiting BMW dealers 5 times to fix various problems.

    During those trips, I had my fuel pump, fuel filter and fuel tank itself replaced, respectively.

    Still I had problems with filling fuel.

    Today, it happened again:
    1) after the fuel pump popped at ~14 gallon (about a full tank), and I pull out the fuel pump nozzle, I saw there was about several ounce of overflowed outside;

    2) then, about 10 seconds after I drove the car, there were two moments of "engine shake", each lasted about 1~2 seconds and their were about 5 seconds apart.

    All these may sounds subtle, but after considering the history in the last a couple month you won't think they are subtle:
    1) 3 months ago I first found it was impossible to pump more than 9 gallons of fuel into this 16-gallon tank;
    2) Then I took it to the dealer(s). After a couple of "denials" from the dealer(s), one dealer finally got a magic error code. So, the fuel pump and filter can were replaced;
    3) a few hundred miles later, the tank couldn't take more than 9 gallons again;
    4) took to a dealer, and another magic error code was found, so the whole fuel tank was replaced;
    5) a few hundred miles later, the tank couldn't take more than 9 gallons again;
    6) took to the dealer, and that time there was no magic error code. So, "no error code means no problem", and the dealer somehow managed to pump a full tank in by themselves.
    7) Today, now is the first time I try to fill the tank full again by myself, after the dealer did it last time.

    *by the way, the fuel pumping problem have been reproduced by myself in 3 different gas stations, in various occasions.*

    Depressed :cry: I regret didn't buy a lexus, mainly because that lexus salesman was rediculously arrogant for nothing.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,612
    Very interesting because I have had occasions in my '06 330xi where the gas pump handle shuts off almost immediately after beginning to refuel. Once it happens, I needed to manually operate the handle with less flow so the pressure does not trip the automatic shut off in the pump handle.

    I assume there is a pressure problem that develops but not every time or the problem could be a combination of pressure and really sensitive gas pump check valves. It did happen at several different gas stations also but I was able to make sure the tank was full.

    I had this problem before on a 1994 Suburban. In some cases I needed to rotate the handle 180 degrees to allow the flow not to trip the switch.

    Change your gas cap. See if this helps.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I've had the occasional early/premature auto-shutoff thing happen on any number of cars, my two BMWs included. Like you said, normally a rotation of the filler neck or a lower flow setting will solve the problem. Regarding cao's problem, I'm really having a difficult time understanding what could be causing the issue as described.

    Best Regards,
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Actually--yes. I've had the shut-off-early problem on quite a few cars, including my bmw. The vapor recovery systems on pumps have very tight tolerances.

    What i do is to set the dispenser to one or two clicks ( ie not, pumping gas out a max speed ). Then i can go inside and grab a coffee, or clean the windshield.
  • fcaofcao Posts: 31
    Thanks for all the comments above.

    I guess pumping at a lower flow-rate might avoid this problem in short-term, as suggested above.

    But my question is:
    will this kind of problem develop further overtime? I don't want this problem to be a time-bomb to explode after the warrantee expires (two years from now). I have this concern mainly because the fact that the idle engine speed did "fluctuated" significantly (the car was shaking like my old 1990 toyota camry) for two moments after yesterday's refuel. This could be an indication that the fuel system (including the tank) problem may be hurting the engine in long term.

    By the way, one thing BMW did really lower-than-standard is the fact that this same below-standard fuel tank happened on TWO consecutive tanks. What is the odd for that?
  • Last week I purchased the new 2007 328i sedan and found that the steering is very loose not stiff (a lot of play in the steering), the BMW handling is almost non existent not to mention the lack of control. Small bumps or defects in the road grade causes this car to slightly sway. To make sure this is not a defect in the 2007 models, I test drove the exact same model, the control was in fact that of the BMW. This validated that my vehicle has a defect. I've spoken with the service technician and the salesman and they seem to blow it off. I love BMWs driving them for years, the steering and handling have prevented me on numerous occasions. Now, I have a vehicle that I am afraid of driving what can I do?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    have you taken the service manager out for a back to back drive?

    Have you tried a different dealership?
  • caocao Posts: 2
    I bet the BMW "service advisor" will tell you :"if there is no fault code in the on-board computer, then there is no problem with that car."

    It's sad, but it's the truth for today's BMW service. It funny that a car missing its hood and steering wheel would be considered as "no problem", because "there is no fault code".
  • edrnedrn Posts: 17
    Ready to purchase my 2003 300XI at lease end. Should I get the extended warranty for 2500.00? What about the maintenance warranty for 1500.00? I've read that it can be bought cheaper. If so, where? From BMW or outside source? Does the maintenance warranty cover little things, like dash light indivcators (tire pressure) and tail/headlamps?
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    For my '05 325, the BMW dealers in my area charge between $1195 and $1495 for the extended maintenance plan. I believe it can only be purchased from a BMW dealer. It must be purchased before the car arrives at 4yr/50K.

    If you have more than one BMW dealer in your area, I recommend you contact the Service Center or Finance Office of the other BMW dealers and ask what they charge. This plan may be purchased from any BMW dealer. Although BMW offers a suggested price of $1195, I've been told this price provides little margin for the dealer. The dealer has the option to set the actual price he charges.

    I haven't purchased mine or enquired yet, and so I do not know all the details of its coverage.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,733
    I've seen the extended maintenance plan for a 3-series go for as low as $945... Get on the net and shop around.. You may have to FedEx your spare key to the dealer, but you can buy it from any dealer in the country..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Kyfdx: Thanks for the heads-up on the pricing. I'm all for saving a couple hundred dollars!

    Follow-up Question: How would you recommend we search the net for pricing info on the extended maintenance plan? I've attempted several Google searches on the web, but it seems as if this price info isn't readily available on the net. I also searched a popular BMW-enthusiast forum, but all I found there was the original MSRP of $995 when this plan was first introduced a few years ago. :confuse:

    Were you implying we should cold-contact several different dealers directly, via contact info from the web? Or, can you suggest any hints of how/where we might be able to search for this info more efficiently -- assuming you have some knowledge/experience in this area?

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,733
    The dealer in Utica, NY used to have discount pricing on the plan for 'Fest members.... but, that CA got promoted to their Honda dealership, I think...

    The dealer that I hear about most often is Nalley BMW in Decatur, GA.. I'm sure there are others..

    Worst case, you should at least be able to get the list price of $995...

    Disclaimer: I've never personally dealt with either of these dealers, but they get rave reviews, mostly.... and seem like good guys.

    (not the host here)


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Thanks, kyfdx!!

    By the way, I think your price might no longer be valid.

    I was told by two different local dealers that the list price increased late last year from $995 to $1195. One of the sources of this info was from the dealer who tries to charge $1495 now. (He stated the list price of $1195 doesn't provide enough margin.) The other source was from a dealer that typically charges $1195.

    Hence, I'm wondering if your info might be slightly out of date? Please speak up (or type up!) if you are convinced the list price is still $995.

    In the meantime, I'll follow up on the leads you provided.

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